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Republic of the Philippines

The evidence does not justify, in our opinion, this sentence. As regards

SUPREME COURT

Roberto Baculi, although he confessed to having assisted in the burial of

Manila

the corpses, it appears that he did so because he was compelled to do so


by the murderers of the four teachers. And not only does the defendant

EN BANC

March 29, 1905

affirm this, but he is corroborated by the only eyewitness to the crime,


Teodoro Sabate, who, by the way, is a witness for the prosecution. This
witness says he was present when the Americans were killed; that Roberto

G.R. No. 1352

Baculi was not a member of the group who killed the Americans, but the he

THE UNITED STATES, complainant-appelle,

was in a banana plantation on his property gathering some bananas; that

vs.

when he heard the shots he began to run; that he was, however, seen by

APOLONIO CABALLEROS, ET AL., defendants-appellants.

Damaso and Isidoro, the leaders of the band; that the latter called to him
and striking him with the butts of their guns they forced him to bury the

Hipolito Magsalin for appellants.

corpses.

Office of the Solicitor-General Araneta for appellee.


The Penal Code exempts from liability any person who performs the act by
MAPA, J.:

reason of irresistible force (par. 9, art. 8). Baculi acted, doubtless, under
such circumstances when he executed the acts which are charged against

The defendants have been sentenced by the Court of First Instance of Cebu

him.

to the penalty of seven years of presidio mayor as accessories after the


fact in the crime of assassination or murder perpetrated on the persons of

As regards the other defendant, Apolonio Caballeros, there is no proof that

the American school-teachers Louis A. Thomas, Clyde O. France, John E.

he took any part in any way in the execution of the crime with which he

Wells, and Ernest Eger, because, without having taken part in the said

has been charged; there is conclusive proof to the contrary, since Baculi,

crime as principals or as accomplices, they took part in the burial of the

as well as one of the witnesses for the prosecution, Teodoro Sabate,

corpses of the victims in order to conceal the crime.

expressly declare that he, Caballeros, did not take any part in the burial of
the aforesaid corpses, nor was he even in the place of the occurrence when
the burial took place. The confession of his supposed liability and guilt,

made before an official of the division of information of the Constabulary,


Enrique Calderon, as the latter states when testifying as a witness, can not
be considered as legal proof, because the same witness says that Roberto
Baculi was the only one of the defendants who made a confession to
him voluntarily. It appears besides, from the statements of another witness
for the prosecution, Meliton Covarrubias, that the confession of Apolonio
Caballeros was made through the promise made to him and to the other
defendants that nothing would be done to them. Confessions which do not
appear to have been made freely and voluntarily, without force,
intimidation, or promise of pardon, can not be accepted as proof on a trial.
(Sec. 4, Act No. 619 of the Philippine Commission).

The fact of the defendants not reporting to the authorities the perpetration
of the crime, which seems to be one of the motives for the conviction and
which the court below takes into consideration in his judgment, is not
punished by the Penal Code and therefore that can not render the
defendants criminally liable according to law.

By virtue, then, of the above considerations, and with a reversal of the


judgment appealed from, we acquit the defendants, appellants, with the
costs de oficio in both instances. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson and Carson, JJ., concur.